Last Saturday I presided over my 550th wedding. I have been keeping track of the number of weddings I have done so it did not come as a surprise, however I posted a Facebook status update about it and in so doing actually thought about what this means.
I became a marriage officer in 2000 but at that time there was no intention to make a living from doing it. Over the next two years I performed 5 or 10 weddings. I found that I LOVED it. I always felt exceptionally privileged when asked to do the honours. In 2002 I thought about the possibility of being a marriage officer for a living. My greatest concern was that over time I would become jaded and I would view it as just a job. I told my wife that if that ever happened I would quit.
The closest I ever got was in mid 2005 when I booked 3 weddings on a single Saturday, the first was around 2pm, the last at 6pm, starting in Muldersdrift, then Midrand then Joburg Central. The first wedding started late which put me on edge and I found myself getting irritable with the couple. I concluded the ceremony and rushed to the next one which was also delayed. I became more and more freaked out and by the time I arrived at the final wedding with just minutes to spare I was close to a wreck. Although a profitable day I felt I had reached that dreaded point of being jaded. I decided to quit. Not a very practical or workable solution to the problem. It’s not the sort of job you can just quit. Brides and Grooms still called and wanted the service that I offer – an all denominational ceremony. What was I supposed to do? Tell them no?
The solution was quite simple – no more than two weddings on a day and only if they are many hours apart (i.e. morning and afternoon). For the most part this works just fine.
So that does this all mean and what’s the point?
I feel so incredibly lucky to have found something to do for a living that I enjoy, that is meaningful and that is so wonderfully intimate. Despite what is common in all weddings it is the groom and brides that are different, that are special and for as long as I remember that it is those two people I want to please, I will continue to love this work.
And it’s downhill to one thousand!